A Guide to Christian Theology - Lesson 9

Who is God?

Through this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of who God is and what defines His character. You discover that God's first and foremost quality is compassion, akin to a mother's love for her children. He is gracious, slow to anger, loving, faithful, and forgiving, offering His favor and unwavering love to those who may not deserve it. However, God is also just and will not leave the guilty unpunished, especially those who persist in rebellion. This lesson challenges misconceptions about an angry God and invites you to contemplate the profound depth of God's character, which encompasses both love and justice. Understanding these seven key characteristics forms the basis for a richer and more meaningful relationship with God.

Gerry Breshears
A Guide to Christian Theology
Lesson 9
Watching Now
Who is God?

I. Introduction

A. Moses' Questions

B. The Importance of God's Character

II. God Reveals His Name

A. The Names of God

B. Yahweh's Personal Name

III. The Character of God

A. The First Thing the Bible Says About God

B. The Most Quoted Verse in the Bible

C. God's Seven Characteristics

IV. Misconceptions About God

A. Misunderstanding God's Anger

B. The Importance of Obedience

V. Conclusion

A. The Transformative Power of Understanding God's Character

B. The Importance of Righteousness and Repentance

  • In this lesson, explore the significance of systematic theology, blending academic insight with personal devotion. Learn to interpret biblical texts, understand how theology shapes beliefs, and fortify your faith against deception. This study fosters personal, biblical, and responsible theological growth, vital for spiritual development and discipleship.
  • Learn diverse ways to tackle theological questions, focusing on Holy Spirit baptism. Understand deductive, inductive, and retro-abductive methods. Acts 17:11 and Acts 15 show how community perspectives contribute to nuanced theological discussions, promoting unity amidst differing viewpoints.
  • This lesson provides insights into theological certainty levels, categorizing beliefs into "die for," "divide for," "debate for," and "decide for," highlighting essential doctrines, divisive issues, passionate debates, and less crucial matters, while underscoring the significance of understanding diverse perspectives and theological terms across different Christian tribes.
  • Explore general revelation through creation and conscience (Psalm 19, Romans 1). Responding leads to God, though not salvation alone. Special revelation possible. Diverse salvation views, favoring knowing Jesus. Seared consciences don't always void salvation.
  • Gain deep understanding of special revelation: history, divine acts, and communication revealing God's character and redemptive plan via Messiah. Lesson highlights Bible's key role, conveying God's nature, guidance, and transformative power, emphasizing ongoing divine-human communication.
  • This lesson delves into the concept of divine inspiration in Scripture, citing 2 Timothy 3:15-16 and 2 Peter 1:16-21. It explains "God-breathed" as a term highlighting God's creative influence on words, rejecting mere concepts or dictation. Inspiration involves human authors, their personalities, and styles, conveying God's message to the entire church.
  • In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of God, including their definitions, biblical support, and implications and applications.
  • In this lesson you will gain insight into the Bible's clarity, sufficiency, and authority, and the Canon.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp a deep understanding of God's character. His foremost quality is compassion, like a mother's love. He's gracious, patient, loving, faithful, and forgiving, extending favor even to the undeserving. Yet, He's just, not sparing the persistently rebellious. This lesson dispels misconceptions, urging contemplation of God's profound blend of love and justice.
  • This lesson delves into holiness via Isaiah 6, emphasizing dedication over separation from sin. It challenges misconceptions and calls for church reform.
  • This lesson delves into the fundamental characteristics of God, particularly the Trinity, emphasizing God's essential relational nature within Himself and its biblical implications, while also addressing theological controversies and highlighting the complexity of the Trinity.
  • This lesson explores different approaches to knowing God, inspired by Thomas Aquinas, discusses the doctrine of immutability, and highlights how God can change in his attitude and actions based on biblical evidence, emphasizing the value of in-depth Bible study and open dialogue in understanding God's nature.
  • This lesson covers key theological concepts: sovereignty, election, and free will. It explores differences between Calvinist and Wesleyan-Arminian views on God's sovereignty, impacting God's plan and human responsibility. Emphasis on defining terms to prevent disputes. Speaker is a "Calminian," blending Calvinism and Arminianism for a balanced perspective. Valuable insights into theological complexities and scripture interpretation.
  • Exploring various theological views and problematic issues surrounding the concept of providence, we will gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of prayer in providence, as well as the compatibility of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.
  • You will gain knowledge about anthropology and its biblical foundations, creation of human beings and the image of God in humans, fall and sin and their implications on human nature, redemption and sanctification, and human destiny and eschatology, including views on heaven and hell and the return of Christ.
  • This lesson offers valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of providence and its profound implications for our comprehension of God's role in the world.
  • The lesson touches upon various types of suffering, categorizing them into six different types: moral evil (e.g., rape), natural evil (e.g., cancer), persecution, sharing the suffering of another, punishment for sin, and suffering caused by the devil.
  • Learn to discern God's will by cultivating a Christ-like character, living by moral principles, seeking counsel, embracing uniqueness, and praying. It's about aligning with your long-term happiness and godly desires, offering a balanced approach to life decisions.
  • Explore Jesus' nature and incarnation. Learn how He balanced divine and human attributes, challenging traditional views. Reflect on His mission and ours, empowered by the Holy Spirit, bridging divinity and humanity.
  • This lesson delves into the incarnation of Jesus, explaining his dual nature as both God and man during his earthly mission, supported by Old Testament, Gospel, and epistle references. It acknowledges the complexity of his divinity and humanity, even after his ascension.
  • This lesson explores Jesus' dual nature, divine and human, delving into emotions, knowledge, sin, and his role as the Second Adam, offering theological insights.
  • Learn about Jesus' life and mission, challenging traditional beliefs like the virgin birth. Explore his spiritual journey, resurrection, and more, fostering critical thinking and alternative perspectives.
  • This lesson provides a comprehensive examination of atonement, its various dimensions, and the theological concepts surrounding it.
  • Learn about the Holy Spirit, baptism, and its role in Christian faith. Understand diverse perspectives on its workings in believers' lives, emphasizing its incorporation at conversion and empowering influence, supported by biblical insights.
  • Gain insight into the relationship between spirit baptism and conversion, the various terms used in Scripture, and the importance of ongoing fillings with the Holy Spirit for special ministry tasks, character, and as a command for all believers.
  • This lesson explores the role of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. It challenges traditional definitions, proposing that any ability empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in ministry is a spiritual gift. The primary gift is the Holy Spirit himself.
  • Learn about the theological debate on spiritual gifts like prophecy and miracles. Explore four perspectives: cessationism, continuationism, functional cessationism, and word of faith. The instructor, a continuationist, emphasizes discernment and scripture while promoting respectful dialogue among believers with differing views.
  • This lesson explores the Bible's view of humanity, emphasizing humans as God's unique creation, made from dust and breath, in His image. It delves into human origins, our role as covenant partners, and the interaction between spirit and body, supported by biblical passages, offering a holistic perspective on being human in God's eyes.
  • This lesson redefines humans as image-bearers of God, emphasizing the role of reflecting divine attributes in all work, gender equality, and growth in Christ-likeness. It promotes dignity for all, with potential for deeper reflection as faith matures.
  • In this lesson you will explore the origin of sin, rejecting dualism in favor of a Christian perspective where sin arises from the choices of morally responsible creatures. The lesson introduces the idea of a pre-creation rebellion by Satan, emphasizing that humans are called to engage in spiritual warfare by doing good and promoting Shalom in the world.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the nature, marks, purpose, structure, and sacraments of the Church and learn about the different views and definitions used to define it.
  • This lecture discusses the leadership offices of a church, including eldership, deacons, and church members, and how they function according to biblical principles of polity, which prioritize following what the Bible prescribes, closely following what it describes, and using wisdom and being Spirit-led in matters it is silent about, all with the aim of effectively sharing the Gospel and achieving unity and focus.
  • In this lesson, you will explore baptism's significance, modes, and theological perspectives, and learn its role in church membership, unity, discipleship, and spiritual growth.
  • This lesson provides an overview of the historical, biblical, and theological aspects of Communion, including practical considerations for its practice.
  • You will gain a good understanding of death and its theological implications, including the biblical view of death, consequences of death, and resurrection and the afterlife. The lesson covers the definition of death, cultural views, and the portrayal of death in the Old and New Testaments. You will also learn about the physical and spiritual consequences of death, as well as the Bible's teachings on resurrection and the afterlife.
  • From this lesson, you gain insight into the biblical concept of God's Kingdom, its significance in Christian theology, and its impact on eschatology, social justice, and the Church's role.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into eschatology, examine biblical perspectives, explore key events like the Rapture, Tribulation, Millennium, and Final Judgment, and learn the significance of eschatology for today's believers.
  • By studying the eternal state, you gain insights into the new heaven and earth, resurrection, judgment, and eternal life, deepening your understanding of Christian hope and assurance.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into the crucial role of church leaders, their essential qualities, and the challenges they face, while discovering the importance of support and encouragement for their growth and effectiveness in ministry.
  • In this lesson, you gain an understanding of the nature of Scripture and learn to interpret the Bible within its historical, literary, and canonical contexts while addressing challenges in biblical interpretation.
  • This lesson delves into the structure and authority of a church, examining different leadership models and emphasizing the overarching role of scripture as the final authority, while also highlighting the need for congregational involvement in decision-making processes and the unique nature of the apostles in early church leadership.
  • Learn Dr. Breshears' local church leadership principles: focus on equipping, inspiring, empowering, unifying, exemplifying, caring for, overseeing, and shepherding members. Rooted in biblical teachings, emphasizes servant leadership. The lesson discusses congregational decision-making, women in church leadership roles with respect for differing views.
  • Learn about church leadership principles, roles of elders and deacons, active membership, mutual commitment, gift utilization, and clear processes in this comprehensive lesson.
  • This lesson explores sacraments, focusing on baptism and diverse theological views. Baptism signifies a profound commitment to Christ within a believer community, emphasizing understanding and promptness post-conversion.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp the essence of baptism, its questions, and debates. Discover belief's role, its confession, and the link to repentance and faith. Explore diverse views on baptism performers, methods, and locations. Gain insights and wisdom for informed baptism decisions in your faith community.
  • From this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of Communion, also known as the Lord's Supper or Eucharist. It will provide you with insights into the controversy surrounding its terminology and the theological background of Communion, primarily focusing on 1 Corinthians Chapters 10 and 11. You will learn about various theological perspectives on the real presence of Christ in the Communion elements and explore different viewpoints on the frequency, leadership, eligibility, and practical aspects of Communion. Overall, this lesson will equip you with the knowledge to better understand and participate in the Communion meal.
  • This lesson delves into two ends: individual death and the end of the age. It explores human death, material and immaterial aspects (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Genesis 3), fear, loss of autonomy, cremation, death determination, rewards, and urges preparation to meet Jesus, facing the undeniable reality of death.
  • Learn about the Kingdom of God, its aspects, Christ's return interpretations, and key concepts like inaugurated, Messianic, and millennium kingdoms. Emphasizing humility and mission in theological debates, it prepares you for insightful discussions on Christ's return and tribulation.
  • Learn about Christian views on heaven and hell. Hell is punishment for those who reject Jesus; heaven is eternal bliss with Him on a renewed Earth. Explore differing views respectfully.

Understand the core topics of systematic theology, from what we know about God to the future state of humankind. Special emphasis is given to such topics as Christ, salvation, the church, and the future.

A Guide to Christian Theology
Dr. Gerry Breshears
Who is God?
Lesson Transcript

Well, what we want to do now is turn to what I call the third topic. And the third topic is from Exodus 3, it's Moses's question back when God shows up and says, "Go back to Egypt." And Moses asks a series of five questions that are just absolutely amazing. Well, the first one is, who am I? And God doesn't go ... He doesn't give him an Enneagram or something like that. He just said, "It doesn't matter who you are it matters that I am with you." And that's the answer to the first question. The second question is even more significant, who are you? God. When I go back and they say, "Who has sent me, what shall I say?" And his question really is, who are you? God. Exodus 31:13. Or, Exodus 3:13. And that question is probably the most fundamental question in Christianity is who is this one we call God? It's a super, super important question.

So in the notes, I've got some stuff in here about the names of God. I'm going to skip all of that, there's a lot of resource on that. But just the names of God tells a lot. And, of course, what God does there in Exodus 3 is he gives his personal name. "Say Yahweh has sent you, the [inaudible], I am that I am." And there's a whole significance, a whole literature around that. But it's his personal name and the significance there is huge. I'd love to unpack it but this is a short course.

The bigger question is about the character of this God. What I do when I'm talking about God I say, "Okay, here's what I want you to do. I want you to tell me, according to the Bible, what's the first thing we say about God? And not your opinion, but what does the Bible say?" And I give hints. I say, "The Bible has quotes itself all the time. In Romans 1 quotes Genesis 15, it quotes it back at chapter two. So the just will live by faith, it's quoted there in Romans 1. Romans 4 quotes Genesis 15, "Abraham believed God and God credited to him righteousness." The Bible quotes itself all the time.

What is the most quoted verse in the Bible, by the Bible, is what I'm talking about here. According to the most quoted verse in the Bible by the Bible, what's the John 3:16, if you will. Now, by the way, John 3:16 is never quoted by the Bible. But the John 3:16 Bible, the verse in the Bible that's the most quoted verse ever gives us a picture and it answers the question I'm going to ask you and that is, what is the first thing God says about himself? And because I'm feeling pretty good today, I'm here in a beautiful location with some friendly people and some good food, I'm going to give you some ... I'm going to make it multiple choice.

Five things, all of which are true. So it's not which one's right it's which one's the first thing God says about himself in the most quoted verse in the Bible by the Bible. Almighty, compassionate, holy, love, sovereign. Which one is the one that God says about himself? And again, those are all true, that's not the thing, it's not which one's right and which one's wrong. When God announces himself in this particular thing, and it's the most quoted verse in the Bible by the Bible, what's the first thing he says about himself? What is the key characteristic according to God, almighty, compassionate, holy, loving, sovereign?

I could ask the people in the room here but they'd probably get it wrong and I don't want to embarrass them. But did you make your own thing? First of all, you know what the most quoted verse in the Bible is. And it's more likely you do now because there've been some books and podcasts done on that. BibleProject did a whole series on the verse. People in the room, do you know what the most quoted verse in the Bible is? Exodus 34:6 and seven. In the New Testament, the most quoted verse is Psalm 110:1, but in the Old Testament ... In the Bible as a whole, the one that's most frequently quoted or alluded to is Exodus 34:6 and seven. Go there and see what the answer is. Exodus 34:6 and seven. I'm using NIV. You'll find it a little bit different. But I'm going to talk about this passage because it's a super, super important passage. But we've got to put it in context.

So without going through the passages let me summarize what happened. Exodus 24, Moses up on the mountain with God, and he's there with those 70 elders, he's there with Joshua, he's there with Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, and they're up on the mountain and Moses goes up into the cloud and he's up there for 40 days. And they're talking about the design of the tabernacle because God wants to be present with his people, but if he comes in power he scares him to death so he's going to have to come down and be in the Tabernacle. And Moses and God are talking about that. And while they're up there ... Exodus 32 tells a very sad story. The people say, "Moses is probably dead we need somebody else so go to Aaron, construct us gods to take us the rest of the way." And Aaron forms the golden calf. And they have a rave and say, "We're worshiping Yahweh." It's like a frat house party in search of God. I mean, come on. And Aaron is doing it. Anyway, we'll come back to that later.

And God is big-time mad. I'm going to kill him. His anger, because of the betrayal, is huge. Well, that's the context. Moses prays, and God, if I can be a bit sarcastic, calms down. I won't kill him after all. And Moses and God have this conversation in the tent in Exodus 33, and he speaks to God as a man speaks to his friend face-to-face. And toward the end of chapter 33 Moses said, "Show me your glory."

And I think what he's saying is, I've seen you in the cloud, take off the cloud, I want to see the full meal deal. And God says, "You can't do it." It's like the sun, you can't be too close to it it'll burn you up. "I can't do that but what I can do is I can put you in the cleft of the rock," Exodus 33, "Put my hand over it, and after I pass by I'll put my hand off and you'll see the trail of my passing" or some such thing. I don't know what that means but Moses says, "Sign me up." So they're up on top of the mountain and he's in the cleft of the rock. And the Lord came down on the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, Yahweh, verse six. He passed in front of Moses proclaiming Yahweh, Yahweh. And what's the first thing God says about himself? And what is it?


Compassionate. Compassionate. Now if you read another translation it'll say merciful. That's the first thing he says about himself. When I think about that ... One of the various conceptions of God I run into in evangelicalism, and I assume people watching this are representing a number of different theological tribes, certainly true in my classes here at Western. When I asked this in an untainted environment who have not read, John Mark Comer, God Has a Name which is a stolen right out of my class, by the way, I should say. I helped him write it but it's a great book. Or the BibleProject material where he did six ... Five videos on Exodus 34, maybe it's six, where he took each name in turn.

And Carissa Quinn did the video on this particular book, this particular name, rachum. Rahum is ... It's related to the word for womb and it's just absolutely fascinating. The first thing God used to describe himself in relation to golden calf worshiping kids who would just betrayed him to no end ... The first thing he talks about toward them is his compassionate. He feels the same way toward his stupid sinful kids as a mother feels toward her womb product, her child who's off in weird land. It's absolutely fascinating to me that the first characteristic of God is I feel wombish toward my kids and to nations who've been cast aside. The first thing God says about himself is compassionate.

When I talk in an untainted environment, the most common answer I get is either sovereign or holy in the tribes I work with anyway. Now holy is true it's ... We'll look at Isaiah 6 in a bit and what that means. Ironic the word sovereign is not even in the Bible. It's translated depending on the translation a few times, but the term ... There isn't a term sovereign in ... That shows up in the Greek New Testament or the Hebrew Old Testament. And that we'll look at in a bit. It's because that turns out to be a ... One of those words that there's a lot of different understandings of.

But the first this word compassionate or merciful is I feel wombish. That's the first thing God says about himself. That's a very different picture than what's often said, "The holy God who cannot tolerate sin. And every time sin gets near him he goes apoplectic." You've got to have a sacrifice of Jesus to overcome the wrath of God before you can come into the presence of sin. That by the way is just absolutely sinful to have that particular view of God but it's very common.

The first thing God feels toward his sinful kids is wombish. It says right here. So the first thing about himself, compassion is I care. Put that down and meditate on it. One of my students, her husband was a librarian at Multnomah until he died. Phil was a good friend. And he got COVID and died of COVID. It was just one of those horror stories. And only through the grace of a doctor who broke the rule was Debbie able to be in the room with her husband in the last hours before he died here at Portland Adventist Hospital. And we lost a good man, a very good man.

I was shocked, stunned may be a better word, when Debbie approached me and said, "Gary, would you do his memorial?" Because he wasn't in our church. Oh, we were friends but I was not an intimate friend of his. Debbie had been my student and ... I mean, we weren't super close. I said, "Debbie, how come?" She said, "Gary, you changed our life." "I did," I said. "Remember that day when you took us through Exodus 3, 4, 6, and seven?" Well, I had remembered that I took her through it but I've done it with a lot of different people.

I said, "What do you mean Debbie?" She said it changed her life. "Because we've been taught, in our tradition, the holy God is distant and hates sin, is totally angry about it, and you helped me see that God feels wombish toward us. It transformed our life. Would you do the memorial for my husband?" And I did. We did it at St. Matthew's Anglican Church over here in northeast Portland not far from where I live. We had quite a gathering. Multnomah guy, a lot of Multnomah people there both by Zoom and live. A lot of their people. So what happened is that concept of God that he feels wombish ... And both Phil and Debbie are very aware of the sin in their life. And if God can't tolerate sin it means he can't tolerate them. And that transformed the shape of their life. I love it.

The first thing God feels toward his golden cow worshiping kids is compassion. Now it's not the only thing he feels, but I care. The second word there is gracious. And the word gracious ... The basic meaning is I help, and I help undeserving folk. I help. Whom does he help? Well, golden calf worshipers. So I care, I help are the first two things God says in a context of a golden calf worshiping kids. That says a lot about God, it says a lot about God.

The third characteristic here is slow to anger. If you watch the BibleProject video or check around a little bit you'll see the word there is long of nostril. God has a long nose, what in the world? Well, it's an idiom, obviously. And what happens when you get mad your nostrils flare. And what it's saying is it takes a lot to get God's nostrils to flare. You can make him angry but you have to work at it. He doesn't begin angry. You can make him angry, and that's what happens in Exodus 32 when they worship the golden calf, but he didn't start that way. He isn't irritable, he doesn't have grumpy days. You look at the gods of the ancient Near East and they're all irritable and you never know what attitude you're going to find. He is slow to anger. You can make him mad, and you don't want him mad at you, but you have to work at it.

Then he turns this next phrase, abounding in love and kindness that it says here in NIV. The Hebrew words are hesed and emet. Hesed just means faithful. It means that it's committed to a relationship. So Sherry and are hesed to each other, we're faithful and committed to each other. Emet means you're a person of integrity and trustworthy. And they're almost synonyms so they're translated in ways that shows both of them. So NIV picks love and faithfulness and that's as good as you can do. It's a pair of words that's frequent in the Old Testament. By the way, in John 1:14 when it talks about Jesus Christ being full of grace and truth, these are the words he's citing. Now it's in Greek, of course, so you can't get it directly from the Hebrew. But that's the concepts. He's saying, the word of God when he came flesh is full of Yahwehness if you will. Compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Then it repeats love to thousands.

And then you get the next one, the sixth one, is forgiving. And remember we're talking about golden calf worshipers here. It's saying God has a forgiving attitude toward golden calf worshipers. And then he calls us to forgive as he does. [inaudible]. And that's the thing, he forgives. He delights in forgiving weakness, rebellion, and sin. You don't have to persuade him to become forgiving he's already there. You have to admit you need it and such but he's already in a forgiving attitude. But then the last one in this list here yet does not leave the guilty unpunished. And the guilty here are people who refuse to accept his forgiveness. They refuse to accept their need for forgiveness. They refuse to confess that they have violated a relationship like the golden calf worshipers. If you refuse his forgiveness then you'll face his wrath. And that's the reality. This is not the kind and gentler God who's always knowing. There is a reality to God's wrath.

You look at those seven characteristics: compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, loving, faithful, forgiving, just. Those are the seven things God says about himself in the most quoted verse in the Bible by the Bible. And frankly, for a lot of people, if you start contemplating that and contemplate it seriously, it will either deepen a good relation you have with God or it'll transform it. Because so many people have the deistic, he's way up there somewhere, but he's not really personal. Or they have this picture of a holy God who is so pure that anything away from it just rouses his wrath and God can't come into that context. Or you end up on the other side, you end up in the ... Just the grandpa God. The God that's, "Oh, come on boys, be nice boys, be nice." No, his wrath is real, his wrath is absolutely real, but he didn't start that way but you can make him mad.

So these seven characteristics, the most common characteristics ... Or these are the seven from God. And I think starting our concept of God with these seven is the best way to start. And number one is mercy. So in Romans 2 it says, "Kindness of God leads to repentance." And again, that's a general revelation as we talked about earlier in this course. The kindness of God. Well, that's what shows up here with compassion or merciful. God is kind but he is God. And if you betray him, you insult him, you hurt his kids you'll see his wrath come too. It's real. Seven characteristics: compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, faithful, loving, forgiving, just. That's a fundamental characteristics of our God, Yahweh, the creator of heaven and earth. Okay, questions.

You talked about the Bible being pretty plain to understand, in an earlier recession, if you read it through in community and in context. How do readers ... The Bible get so off course, the angry God in the sky ready to lightning bolt me? When you read the Bible it's a pretty clear start to finish this is a loving God. How did we get such a misunderstanding?

Well, frankly, when you read through much of the Old Testament God is really angry, and he is. For years, when I was doing my Bible readthrough, I would just ... I would have a twitching thing when I started into 2 Samuel. Because the rest of the 2 Samuel, and all of First Kings and Second kings, God is ticked the whole time it seems like. Then you get a little break in the Psalms and such, and now you're into the prophets, and God is mad again. Well, the point is why is he mad? It's because his kids are hurting each other and betraying him. They're worshiping and serving the other gods. Baal in Asherah are the most commons. And Moloch, Chemosh, Isis, and Artemis, and such. And these other gods are narcissistic and violent, and you love and serve the other gods you become narcissistic and violent and that's what makes him mad. Frankly, the things that make God mad make me mad.

When I finally saw it, a friend helped me see it ... Debbie was ... We were talking about it one day and she says, "Gary, don't you read the Bible?" We were laughing. "Yeah, I read the Bible." "But do you get what's happening? The slightest bit of refreshment, and revival, a repentance, and God is blessing everybody." Think of Hezekiah, think of Josiah in these revivals that happened, God is pointing out blessing everywhere. The wrath of God makes total sense. The surprising thing is how easy it is to make him happy because that's his character. I still don't like reading through the Bible because I ... I mean, that sense, because God's anger. But I've realized that his anger, of God, is really about sin that deserves his anger. He's slow to anger. But you read that ... And you'll read it and realize what's happening, you think God is just violently anger.

Another answer is the Nadab, Abihu thing. When Aaron is appointed to high priest, so he's the guy who gets skated on the Holy of Holies once a year, and Nadab and Abihu decide they're going to come into the Holy of Holies. They're his kids so they should ... If dad can do it we can do it. And they get flamed. The same fire that ate the sacrifice that Aaron brought ate the boys. When they come in, not the way God decided, they decide to abrogate to themselves the right to define we'll come into God when and how we want. And no, you don't get to do that. God invites you in but he tells you how to approach. And we insult him by making our own definition of how to do those things, then we get his anger. There's a right way for God and he'll help us do it. When we say, "Wait a minute, I'm going to do it myself, I'm the narcissist." God does not like narcissists. That'd be my response to it.


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